27 March 2008

Idiot Flesh, Zimmer's Hole


That's right, I've hit upon something worth writing about and mustered up the boredom to contribute to this pathetic collection of thoughts. So, to start off this extravaganza of apathy, I shall introduce Idiot Flesh to you.

I've been a fan of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum for a while now, perhaps about as long as I've liked Meshuggah. Some of the weirdest, most innovative stuff I've ever heard. So, as is my wont, I was reading their Wikipedia page for about the 20th time and again saw the reference to the band Idiot Flesh. Apparently a bunch of SGM's members were in that band before forming the genius troupe. Their first full-length album was released in 1990, a time period I usually associate with not-so-great music. This is a ridiculous association of course but my mind is a dumb place.

So I checked 'em out. Their 1990 album, Tales of Instant Knowledge and Sure Death, is much milder than SGM's stuff. It's in the same vein lyrically though, and you can definitely discern the musical aspects that were carried on. A lot of it is more traditional, especially the bass work. Pretty funky really. All in all though I didn't think it was that great of an album; not really any stand-out tracks. Of course I just checked them out last night so I haven't had that much time to drink it all in. One thing I did notice was the similarity to Mr. Bungle, one of Mike Patton's earlier exploits.

I liked that album enough to try some more. So, Fancy was next up on the menu. This was their third and final studio album, released in 1997, just before their breakup. I haven't been able to find the middlin' one yet, but I think I'll be pursuing it, as this album rocks. Quite a bit more similar to SGM. The tracks Teen Devil Worshipper, Chicken Little and Cheesus (Dance Mix) were definite standouts every time I listened through it. Cheesus specifically is hilarious. It plays like a commercial, much like Gold Fish or something. It's just something you have to hear (unless you are an easily offended Christian). Many songs are a bit heavier than on their first, but there's no growling to speak of and none of the intensity reaches SGM's level.

Overall, satire and weird sounds make up Idiot Flesh's repertoire. I like it.

Next up is Zimmer's Hole - When You Were Shouting at the Devil... We Were in League with Satan. The title doesn't even fit on the front of the album; the second half is displayed on the back with funny portraits of the band members. This is comedy metal at its finest. The coolest part of the whole album for me was the track The Vowel Song. I was playing through it and this gem came up, and I was greeted by the voice of none other than Nathan Explosion of Dethklok, otherwise known as Brendon Small. Nathan has been conscripted to inform us that a lot of people can't read, and this is bad, because sometimes you need imagery to get off, like dangling sweaty knockers. We are then treated to a very short song with these simple lyrics:
A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes
Y are you wasting my air?
Why are you still here?
Why must I tolerate, no debate, eliminate!!!
A, E, I, O, U...SUCK....SUCK!!!
Nathan then lets us know that you don't need to know how to read to order a cheeseburger. Every restaurant's got a cheeseburger. The reason he's on this album is that the drummer, Gene Hoglan, filled in the for the fictitious Pickles on the Dethalbum and the subsequent Dethklok tour.

Other lyrical themes involve metal, hair, necrophilia, Satan, and I think marital stress or something. Great stuff. The only reason I bought this album is that 3 of the 4 members were part of the late and very great Strapping Young Lad, led by Devin Townsend, who is sadly not in this one. He did produce some of it and mixed it though. I've heard Zimmer's other two albums, and this one is definitely the best.

03 March 2008

The Dark Knight Returns and Ghosts

I bought this along with Watchmen because Amazon told me to. I'm not sorry about it, but this is not as good as Watchmen. Of course, very little is.

Frank Miller has gained a lot of popularity since the cinematographic versions of Sin City and 300 were released. Incidentally, the guy who directed 300 is currently going to be directing the film adaptation of Watchmen, which Alan Moore does not endorse, sadly. Anyway, Miller is a pretty good writer. He's also much more into the extremes of sex and violence, moreso the violence. TDKR has a lot of that. It's a story of an old Bruce Wayne returning to the streets of Gotham as Batman after a 10 year self-induced hiatus. The reason given is the death of the two Robins, as far as I can tell; I never read those storylines. The overall battle is one between Bruce and the stupidity-saturated media/government. This is another apocalyptic novel, as it was written at just about the same time as Watchmen, during the Cold War. As such, nuclear weaponry comes into play. An odd thing about that is that the effect is almost positive; it gives the man in black an opportunity to fix things in such a way that it's obvious he's the only one with his head on straight. Characters of note are The Joker, The Green Arrow, and Superman. Superman's story in this is a pretty cool one; he almost dies in the face of nuclear holocaust.

It was a good read.

This was released yesterday and I haven't yet had time to listen to it all. However, the special thing about this isn't just the music, it's the way it was released. Trent Reznor, recently freed from his record deal, has decided to go the way of Radiohead and put out a (partially) free album. You can buy the whole thing for a minimum of $5 as a download in a variety of formats. The coolest part of that is that unlike Radiohead, this guys knows what the hell he's doing with music encoding. The mp3s were encoded with LAME, the accepted standard of quality, at 320kbps, not 160. Lossless versions are also available in FLAC and M4A. Another extremely cool thing is that Trent and co. uploaded the first quarter (Ghosts I) to a bunch of torrent sites, including The Pirate Bay. That is right way to get the internet's attention, friends. Also free is a 40 page PDF of images meant to accompany the music, complete with computer wallpaper versions in standard and widescreen formats.

As for the music, it is good. It's all instrumental and mostly experimental, a mix of electronic and a variety of traditional sounds. Adrien Belew of King Crimson appears on about half of it. 36 tracks of delicious music. I'm not the biggest fan of NIN but this is just too awesome to pass up. So, support this guy at ghosts.nin.com.